The ruined castle Hohenneuffen thrones above the town of Neuffen in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
Construction started between 1100 and 1120. The castle was first mentioned in documents in 1198. Over the centuries, Hohenneuffen was extended and rebuilt until the 18th century.
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Hohenneuffen was under siege four times. Twice it withstood, and twice it fell. The longest siege took 15 months before the castle surrendered to the imperial troops. According to a historically incorrect legend, this siege ended a little different:
The donkey legend
The besieged troops fed their last grain to a donkey, butchered the beast, and tossed its filled stomach into the enemy’s camp. The besiegers believed that there were still plenty of provisions inside the castle, lost patience, and left. Historically incorrect, but a donkey is ever since the mascot of the town Neuffen.
The castle was in use as a prison and fortress until 1795. Deconstruction (or should I say recycling of the building materials?) started shortly afterwards.
Preservation started around 1830. However, the 35 years it served as a stone pit for the local construction ventures left their traces.
Somewhere around 1862 the castle attracted enough visitors that a smart business man opened an inn. The restaurant is still operating. Its a popular venue for events and celebrations. Unfortunately, the website is in German language only.
The panorama over the Swabian alb is priceless and although the fortification is already heavily decayed its mighty elegance didn’t suffer at all!
The castle ruin is accessible throughout the year. Admission is free. You’ll need between one and a half to three hours for a visit.
If you’re at the parking space, be sure to visit “Wilhemlsfels“, a little hidden observation deck. It’s just a 400 meters walk and provides you an awesome position for some photos. The banner image at the top, and the photo below have both been taken there.
If you have plans to visit Hohenneuffen, be sure to also have a look at the official website.
One last tip: Bad Urach!
Bad Urach, a little picturesque town, is just 13 km south of Hohenneuffen. In the 15th century, it used to be the state’s capital city for about 41 years. You’ll find a beautiful palace and a big ruined castle there. If that sounds interesting, be sure to have a look at the post Bad Urach: Residential Palace and Hohenurach Castle Ruins. Both sites at Urach and Hohenneuffen just perfectly fit a day trip.